Ultimate Guide to the adidas Samba

Introduction to the adidas Samba

The adidas Samba trainer is renowned as an absolute classic amongst adidas fanatics.  The shoe is reportedly the 2nd best selling adidas footwear of all time behind the adidas Stan Smith however some sources claim it is the best selling adidas shoe.  One thing is for certain and that is the Samba holds the record for the longest running shoe still in production.  If longevity was an objective when designing the adidas Samba then adidas can certainly pat themselves on the back as the shoe is now in its 65 years.

Timeless, stylish and essential are all common superlatives you will hear when people are describing the Samba design.

adidas samba

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adidas samba history

The Original adidas Samba was developed in the late 1940s after the Dassler brothers split following a dispute and Rudolph formed Puma.  The Samba was finally released in 1950. The very first version of the Samba was designed to assist footballers that were training in icy conditions when the ground became frozen.  The Samba is still used by many to play football, especially indoors.  Most other adidas designs that were originally made for sport have moved into street wear and are no longer used for their original purpose.

It is claimed (however this is unconfirmed) that the most popular colourways of the Samba is black with white stripes.  This was one of the original designs that came along with the extremely noticeable tan sole

adidas samba 1967
adidas samba 69 bottom

adidas Samba materials

According to the adidas archive the Samba is made from full-grain kangaroo leather with reinforced suede trim.  The toe was extra durable and had extra strengthening qualities which were essential for playing football.

adidas later released the Bamba which was the cheaper alternative to the Samba as it was only part made from leather.

The adidas Samba suede trainer has also been extremely popular for adidas.  The suede material was used for the full trainer and the most iconic model was the adidas Samba blue suede shoe.  In fact this specific design is still being sold on the high street today.  The material has even been used in other samba models like the adidas Samba Super suede.

adidas Samba versions

adidas have released various versions of the Samba since the 50s mainly due to the popularity among football fanatics who continue to wear the Samba as part of their casual fashion.  That said the Samba has also seen huge popularity with other fashion styles and many celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres and Kristen Stewart have been seen sporting this iconic classic. But first lets look at some of the different versions.

adidas Samba 85

The adidas Samba 85s have a distinct use of colour compared to other Samba models.   This use of colour is most evident on the sole of the shoe which on other samba shoes are normally a tan brown colour or plain white.  This change of colour can be seen from the side of the shoe towards the bottom of the trainer.

adidas samba 85

adidas Samba Super

The adidas Samba Super has a traditional look but with a larger toe cap and an XL tongue.  When I first saw the Samba Super I wasn’t sure about the extra large tongue but after buying a pair in grey and yellow I soon fell in love.  the adidas Samba Super are one of my favourite Samba designs.

adidas samba super black white

adidas Samba JP


The adidas Samba JP design goes slightly against the traditional samba look by creating a sleeker and more pointer toe.  The JPs have done away with the felt material that is commonly found around the toe on Sambas.  

adidas JP

adidas Originals Samba in Lemon-Yellow

In 2011 adidas released their Lemon Yellow version of the Samba just in time for summer.  They were definitely a pair to look out for and from time to time you can pick up a pair of deadstock online if you are lucky.  The shoe was made of an all-canvas upper and the white stripes blending in nicely.

adidas samba lemon yellow

adidas Originals Samba "Solid Grey/Bluebird"

Released in 2013 these adidas Original Samba’s in solid grey and bluebird blue are stunning.  When a black adidas Samba is teamed up with such complementary colours then you know the trainer will be a big hit.

adidas Originals Samba Solid Grey and Bluebird

The casuals and adidas


Blue Sambas, especially the dark blue have been one of the best selling colourways of the last 25 years.  This could be due to “the casuals” a trainer wearing tribe in the UK that emerged during the 70s and is still evident today.  The casuals usually followed a local football team and would dress in smart clothes from a number of designer labels.  Baggy flairs were being replaced by tighter jeans in the 70s and this provided the platform for a new trainer culture.  Sambas, Bambas and Mambas were the trainer of choice for “The Casuals”.

adidas casuals

Celebrities wearing Samba

Many celebrities have been photographed wearing the adidas Samba which keeps the shoe in the forefront of the fashionistas minds.  It has come along way from the early football days to a essential piece of fashion.

Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are just some of the sames that are often seen walking around in their adidas Sambas. Timberlake and Rihanna own the white adidas Samba, whilst K Stew and Pattinson opt for the more traditional black with white stripes.  Even Samuel L Jackson owns a pair of the dark blue Sambas with light blue stripes.

samuel l jackson adidas

A shoe wouldn't be cool unless Samuel L Jackson wears them.  Here he is at a basket ball game wearing a dark blue/light blue combo Samba.

Justin Timberlake heading to the shops in a pair of white Sambas

kristen stewart adidas

Girl next door Kristen Stewart is dressed down to impress with a pair of black Sambas

rihanna adidas

Pop superstar Rihanna goes for the full adidas outfit which includes a pair of white adidas Sambas.  Is somebody looking for an endorsement deal?